A guide to the best trails in the Costa del Sol

If potential visitors are under the impression that the Costa del Sol is only good for lazing around on the beach all day, then they couldn’t be more wrong. There are plenty of sun-kissed stretches of sand to choose from if that is what is wanted, but this area on the southern coast of Spain has far more going for it than just that.

Literally, the “Sun Coast”, the Costa del Sol is a region in Andalusia, Spain. Málaga is the biggest city and is surrounded by a number of smaller towns and picturesque fishing villages. Tourists flock to the resorts and beaches, but if hikers want to explore the outstanding beauty of the hills and mountains, there are some amazing trails dotted all along the coast providing some beautiful scenery.

This part of Spain can get very hot in the summer months, but even in September, visitors can expect temperatures in the high 60s, so they should make sure that they stock up on water and protection when embarking on these hikes as there is quite often little cover from the sun.

Here are some of the best hiking trails along the Costa del Sol:

Costa del Sol scenic beach views
Image by Rainer Maiores from Pixabay

La Concha

For some of the most breathtaking views of the Costa del Sol, a hike up one of Marbella’s most recognizable landmarks should be considered. At almost 4,000 feet, La Concha towers above the city, providing a view of Morocco on a good day. Starting from Juanar, the trek is around 8km, and the eye-catching flora and fauna of the region – including olive groves and pine trees – can be taken in along the way.

La Bola

For an experience with a little more exertion, hikers could start off from the pretty town of Mijas and climb to the top of the Pico de Mijas, 3,700 feet above sea level. From the winding streets of the village below, through the relatively steep terrain, the view from this part of the Sierra de Mijas is stunning. The entire Málaga coastline can be taken in as well as the Sierra de las Nieves to the north. Special care should be taken as the ground can be slippery underfoot and very rocky. However, the views from the top will make it all worthwhile.

El Cielo

Forming a natural border between Málaga and Granada, the Sierras de Tejeda is a very popular area for hikers, and the spectacular panoramic views from the summit of El Cielo take in north Africa as well as the entire surrounding coastline. The start of the hike is in Cuevas de Nerja, so not that far away from a wide selection of vacation hotel apartments in Costa del Sol. The arid landscape can be very unforgiving, so it is probably best to attempt the trail later in the year, out of the heat of summer. There is an ideal stopping point at around 3,200 feet, though more experienced hikers may want to carry on to the summit.


To take in some beautiful examples of the picturesque white village buildings of the area, intrepid explorers could hike some of the many routes that lead to the village of Ronda in the north of the region, standing at around 3,000 feet above sea level. The imposing Ronda mountains that surround the village are full of caves and rocky pathways begging to be discovered. The heat can be fairly oppressive even in the later months of the year as there is little shade, but unlike some of the other trails outlined here, the proximity to the village’s bars and tapas restaurants means that a warm welcome will be waiting at the end of your hike.

The Costa del Sol is easily accessible, with Málaga Airport being the most popular entry point for visitors. If the thought of doing nothing on the beach sounds like the holiday from hell, then visitors will be pleased to know that there is much more to do in this spectacular region – and hiking some of the trails is probably the best way to take in the breathtaking local landscape.

Hikers should research the trails carefully before setting off to ensure that they fit their level of expertise. However, as long as some care is taken when researching, plenty of water is carried when hiking, and the trip is undertaken during the cooler times of the year to visit, then the incredible scenery of the Costa del Sol will be long remembered.

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